Virtual Paedophiles?!?

Sky's rag 'news' division has published an exposé of paedophilia in the online virtual community 'Second Life'.

This is an odd one. Click for story.

For those unfamiliar with 'Second Life', it's pretty much a virtual world where people create an new 'self' and live out a second life in a huge online video game where anything is possible. It's hugely popular (currently it has 9 million residents), and getting more so. People are making a living (in the real world) by providing goods and services in the game. Recently the music industry has gotten on board by holding Second Life concerts and using the system to launch albums. Now Sky News has discovered that paedophiles are using the site to virtually abuse children. Weird.

People are logging on and creating their characters in the form of kids, then getting up to all sorts of dirty crap with other avatars (virtual folk). Obviously this isn't the only illegal stuff that goes on in Second Life, all sorts of craziness goes on in it, because I suppose it's fundamentally an outlet for people to do things they can't do in the real world- be that having a different appearance or having filthy fetish sex in clubs. I guess it's no different from the likes of Grand Theft Auto, but possibilities limitless as all the content is user created so doesn't have to be pre-written by programmers.

See Politicians & Celeb's views on online Paedo-games in the below video courtesy of Chris Morris (skip straight to 3:10):

Just watching the Sky report, the similarities between it and this BrassEye satire are striking.

Also look out for the reporter's injection of some of his own speculation into this factual report. 'They could probably use the site to exchange real images of paedophilia with each other, if they wanted to.' That's a different story, Sky's intrepid Jason Farrell, that's child pornography.

So are there any actual children involved? No.. Is it illegal? No. Hmmm... Is this weird and screwed up behavior? Sure. It's depraved. But then we have the idea of: 'is it not better that these people are acting out these desires through a computer game, rather than in real life?'. There is psychological research (i really should know how to look up exactly what it was) into the notion of whether 'letting off steam' (so to speak) cathects intent or nurtures it. I can't reference what the exact findings were (sorry!), but I do remember being told that it was far from an open and shut case. That said, I don't think that this should be encouraged, but simply that there must be a question mark over this issue.

But of course, Sky News leads the way in rallying the sheep onto the streets, flaming torches in hands, baying for the blood of the paedophiles, or is it terrorists today?

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